Sunday, March 15, 2015

How to Write a Book (Even if You Never Have

How to Write a Book (even if you never have) is the brainchild of Now Novel co-founder Bridget McNulty – a culmination of all the advice and tips she's been sharing with the Now Novel writing community over the last year. It’s a fantastically helpful resource for anyone wanting to write their first book, a guide for all those who love writing and want to tackle the Mount Everest of writing projects (a novel) and a reference for writers at any stage of their careers who need reminding of the building blocks of novel-writing: ideas, mood, theme, plot, setting and characters. It’s also, quite simply, a great read.
Find out more about the Now Novel online novel-writing process at

The importance of motivation and discipline in writing a novel cannot be underestimated. Without these two qualities, the most talented novelist in the world will not be able to complete a book.

Writing a novel is a matter of putting words down on a regular basis. It doesn't have to be daily, but it needs to be regular enough that you have created a habit and have a good sense of where you are in the book each time you sit down to work on it again. The good news is that motivation can be increased and discipline is a skill that can be learned.

In this chapter, we offer a number of tips that can do just that. You can learn to motivate yourself and stay disciplined through activities like morning pages as well as through working with mentors. You can even make Monday, the worst day of most people's weeks, work for you.

Writing a novel is a marathon and not a sprint. Whether you devote an hour in the morning or evening to your writing or set aside a few hours every weekend for the next few months, it is slow and steady progress that will take you to the finish line and not a single burst of furious activity.

Motivation does not mean that you will never doubt your novel; the secret to motivating and disciplining yourself to go the distance is to persist through doubt. When you can continue writing your novel despite your fears and worries about it or other distractions, you will succeed in finishing it, and the following chapter will show you how.

A treasure trove of inspiration and tips for the first-time writer! A good book, of course, starts with a good idea...and the first chapter has plenty of ideas where to get the idea that will be worthy of sustaining an entire novel. Then we move on to mood and theme (and how to change it when appropriate). There is thorough coverage on how to achieve believable characters, settings and plot. The writing process is discussed (and how to stay motivated-a chapter I sorely needed as longevity is my weakness when it comes to attempting fiction). The final chapter is about publishing...all the nuances of the rapidly growing world of self-publishing.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I will be constantly re-reading this book and another as I participate in Camp NaNoWriMo in the month of April...expect to hear a lot more of my thoughts on the book!

Bridget McNulty is a writer and editor with a passion for helping people write novels (even if they never have). She studied Creative Writing at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and went on to publish her first novel, Strange Nervous Laughter, in South Africa with Struik Publishers and in the USA with St Martin’s Press. Since then, she has co-founded an online novel-writing process,, that helps aspiring writers start – and finish! - their books, and founded a diabetes lifestyle magazine, Sweet Life, that focuses on the positive side of the condition. She lives in Cape Town, South Africa, with her husband and son, and spends her days reading, writing and drinking tea.

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